This weekend, I think I’ve made a small breakthrough in my PTSD/anxiety. For those of you who don’t know me personally, or didn’t follow my old blog Where Is Baby Payne from back in days of infertility, I had a pretty harrowing experience with the C-section of my son Thomas. If you would like to read the nitty gritty details, you can check out the blog post about his birth HERE
For the Cliff Notes version, my spinal block was difficult to place because my vertebrae are apparently very close together. They finally were able to place it but it became what’s called a “Total Block”. and I immediately had to be put under general anesthesia as all my muscles became paralyzed from head to toe and I couldn’t breathe. At the time, I was completely unaware that this was a possibility of something happening. With good reason too, as this happens to < 1% of women undergoing cesarean. Unfortunately for me, I’m always in that 1% of the statistics it seems. As they were putting me under the anesthesia, and I could hear the doctors running around yelling medical codes to each other, my last thoughts were “I’m dying”.
Honestly, I was messed up to begin with but this really put the icing on the cake so to speak. Ever since that day, so close to two years, I’ve had serious reactions to anything medical related. When I say reaction, please note that I mean mental reaction.
It all started shortly after Thomas was born when I needed to get a cavity filled and I was in panic for the days leading up to the appointment. I was certain, CERTAIN, that I had an allergy to something and the numbing agent being used on my teeth would somehow absorb into my gums and close my throat right there in the dentist’s chair.
After my cavity was filled, despite the fact that it was a super easy process and free of complications, every medically related appointment thereafter was complicated by severe panic attacks. None of the appointments or procedures were anything other than routine yet my brain cannot be stopped. While getting contrast put into my hip joint for an MRI, I had to actually request that they stop as I was about to pass out.
So this breakthrough I mentioned…
My anxiety is a catch 22. I am paranoid about all things sickness and leaving Thomas without a mother so I feel the need to get every single thing checked out by a doctor. Yet, every doctor’s appointment sends me into panic mode. I just can’t win. However, something simple I did really need to do was see a dermatologist about a few spots I had that were concerning. Thankfully, the two spots weren’t an issue but of course, the doctor found THREE moles that were suspicious. I scheduled a time to come back in for “surgery” and have them removed and sent out for pathology.
The last couple weeks while waiting for this appointment I’ve been mulling this over in my head. I have to start prepping myself for multiple situations and begin telling myself “It’s different….it’s not the same thing…everything will be fine”. I was feeling great all the way until I walked up to the registration desk and gave my name. Then? Panic….started….creeping…..in.
They called my name and I headed back to my room. Everything was going well until the dermatologist came into the room in full surgical garb. I mean, three moles? You need all that? Surgical garb, I now know, is a big trigger for me. My other one, obviously, is any kind of numbing agent, which obviously I would need for the procedure.
I could feel my throat getting tight and my heart was beating fast. I must have looked a little off because the nurse asked me if I was ok. This was the first time I was actually honest with the medical staff and I told her that I didn’t want to know the step by step process of what was going on. Also, I admitted that I have severe anxiety due to PTSD issues and would appreciate if she would just chat with me to keep my mind on something other than the numbing on my back.
The whole appointment took less than an hour and while it started off a little shaky, I was so proud of myself for not going into full panic mode like usual. I’m sure this is just one small step forward, but what matters is that it’s in the right direction.